Melee, stabbing, and shots fired at Washburn HS Somali culture night

One person was reportedly stabbed around 7:45 p.m. during a fight involving about 50 people at Washburn High School.

Screenshot from a melee inside Washburn HS auditorium (Video provided to Crime Watch)

Mayhem erupted at a south Minneapolis high school Thursday evening during a planned Somali cultural event and performance that resulted in fights, a stabbing, and shots fired.

According to dispatch audio at the time, one person was reportedly stabbed around 7:45 p.m. during a fight involving about 50 people at Washburn High School located at 201 West 49th Street.

As police arrived to respond to the fight, an officer called out over the air that shots had been fired, and a city-wide officer help call was toned by the dispatcher. Several squads responded from across the city as well as state troopers, Hennepin County deputies, and officers from Edina and Richfield police departments.

The school was hosting a Somali Culture Night performance in the auditorium that was being held from 6 to 8:30 p.m., according to a prior post by the school on YouTube.

Copies of videos reportedly from inside the auditorium during the melee were subsequently sent to Crime Watch. Two videos showing different perspectives of the same incident appear to show a male dressed in a black top and red pants wielding an object in a stabbing motion toward others in the auditorium. The male appears to stab another male in the back during the melee.

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara held a press conference following the series of events during which he confirmed that an officer responding to the fight had heard gunfire near Busch Terrace and Pleasant Avenue. At least three spent shell casings were later found by police at that location. Chief O’Hara said the officer was unsure whether shots were being directed at him but engaged in a foot chase after the suspect along with other officers.

Chief O’Hara said that a 16-year-old male was eventually arrested in connection to the shots fired, and a Glock handgun with a 50-round drum magazine was recovered by police. A second 17-year-old suspect who was running with the suspect was also detained, he said.

At the time of the press conference, the chief said he believed that a third suspect wanted in connection to the stabbing was not in custody and was possibly still at large. Dispatch audio at the time indicated that one of the suspects detained was wearing a black top and red pants with stripes and that a pocketknife had been recovered by police.

Chief O’Hara said that a 16-year-old male had sustained a non-life-threatening stab wound in the initial incident inside the auditorium.

A photo was later submitted to Crime Watch showing a male in a black t-shirt and red pants being detained by police, which appeared to match the clothing worn by the person from the videos in the auditorium who appeared to be wielding a weapon in a stabbing motion. It remained unclear whether that person was subsequently identified as the stabbing suspect.

Washburn High School posted a statement on their website on Friday addressing the incident in which they confirmed that one person was stabbed in the auditorium after a fight broke out, and another person was injured when the fight continued outside.

They also said that both the stabbing suspect and the shots fired suspect had been arrested. Information was not able to be immediately obtained to confirm whether one of the two suspects initially detained turned out to be the stabbing suspect.

The school noted that neither the two people injured nor the two suspects were Washburn High School students. No information was provided on the suspects or injured parties and their connection to the school or why they were at the location.

The school message also said that future Somali Culture Night performances will be held next year, but the school will work to “better control who comes in” to the events.

There had been several reports earlier in the afternoon Thursday of juveniles fighting and causing problems along Nicollet Avenue near the high school, according to dispatch audio. Dispatch aired to police at about 3:35 p.m. that there were reports of 30 to 50 juveniles fighting in the street near 46th and Nicollet Avenue. One 911 caller said they thought some parties had guns. Around 4:24 p.m., the dispatcher aired another report of a group of male teens with bats trying to break down a door on the 4400 block of Nicollet Avenue, as well as another report of about 20 teens fighting near 45th and Nicollet Avenue. One teen in the fighting incident was reported to have a knife. The Minneapolis Fire Department was also dispatched to the address at 44th and Nicollet for a fire alarm going off, and they were requested to stand-by for police to arrive on the report of a possible burglary and fight at the address. It’s not known whether the afternoon incidents were related in any way to the incidents that transpired at the evening cultural event.

There were at least two more incidents aired by dispatch on Friday afternoon reportedly involving Washburn students who had set off fire alarms at the same apartment building on the 4400 block of Nicollet Avenue where incidents had occurred on Thursday. The Minneapolis Fire Department was dispatched twice between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to the location on Friday.

The school’s senior party is scheduled for overnight Friday, June 2 from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Saturday, June 3. The last day of school is scheduled for June 16.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.


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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.